News Column

Patent Issued for Network System with Quality of Service Management and Associated Management Method

September 10, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- A patent by the inventor Lai, Chi Shao (Hsinchu, TW), filed on June 25, 2009, was published online on August 26, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews correspondents.

Patent number 8817619 is assigned to Realtek Semiconductor Corp. (Hsinchu, TW).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "(a). Field of the Invention

"The invention relates to communication networks, and more particularly to a network system with quality of service (QoS) management and an associated QoS management method.

"(b). Description of the Prior Arts

"In recent years, the integrated circuit (IC) technology develops rapidly so that the System-on-Chip (SoC) approach is increasingly applied. The Network-on-Chip (NoC) architecture has also been developed to serve as the communication basis between system components. Since both the number of components and the need for bandwidth within a chip increase rapidly, the point-to-point standard protocol such as Open Core Protocol (OCP) or Advanced extensible Interface (AXI) is applied to the interface between the components so as to upgrade the working frequency and throughput of a NoC system. The physical layer of the NoC system utilizes point-to-point handshaking to control data flow and perform one-way phased transmission. The packet information provided by the standard protocol is used to facilitate data transmission and further provide the Quality of Service (QoS) function for data exchange. Packets, used for data exchange between the system components, may have different communication requirements depending on the involved components or tasks. For example, some of the packets need to be transmitted to their destination without too much delay so as to achieve a high data rate; the other packets may allow more delay in the transmission process.

"FIG. 1 is an architecture diagram of a conventional NoC system 10, which includes switch units 11, 12 and 13, master devices 14, 15 and 16 and a slave device 17. The NoC system 10 adopts a multi-level, switch-to-switch structure wherein each switch unit forms a center of a cluster or communication sub-system, and one-way point-to-point shared signal paths 101, 102 and 103 respectively connect between the switch units 11 and 12, the switch units 12 and 13, and the switch unit 13 and the slave device 17, thereby transmitting packets across different levels. Since each switch unit may receive packets from multiple sources (including the master device and the switch unit at the previous level) at the same time and also the signal paths 101, 102 and 103 are shared, the switch unit should consider various communication requirements of the received packets so as to establish its packet arbitration policy for determining the forwarding sequence of the received packets. However, in the architecture of FIG. 1, when a lot of high priority packets crowd into the switch unit, it may cause collision of packet forwarding or even network congestion such that the forwarding of the high priority packets cannot meet QoS requirements of the system. Furthermore, since the high priority packet is forwarded in a higher priority than a low priority packet, the forwarding of the low priority packet may be delayed too much and thus cannot meet the QoS requirements either."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "It is therefore one objective of the present invention to provide a network system with quality of service (QoS) management and an associated QoS management method which can realize QoS requirements of high and low priority packets by means of dynamic management and division of labor, thereby achieving the QoS goal of the whole network system.

"In one embodiment of the present invention, a network system is provided. The network system comprises: a switch network; a target device coupled to the switch network, wherein the target device is corresponding to a target priority level; and a first source device and a second source device for respectively issuing a first packet and a second packet to the target device via the switch network, wherein the first packet is corresponding to a first priority level. The switch network comprises: a flow control unit, coupled to the first source device, for receiving the first packet, and performing a flow control procedure according to the target priority level and a high priority bandwidth quota of the first source device when the first priority level is a high priority, so as to determine whether to output the first packet; when the first priority level is a low priority, the flow control unit directly outputs the first packet; a switch unit, coupled to the flow control unit and the second source device, for determining a forwarding sequence of the first and second packets according to a packet arbitration policy; and a scheduling unit for receiving the first and second packets from the switch unit and determining a sequence for the first and second packets to enter the target device, wherein the scheduling unit updates the target priority level as a priority level of a packet which enters the target device, and informs the flow control unit of the updated target priority level.

"In another embodiment of the invention, a network system is provided. The network system comprises: a switch network; a target device coupled to the switch network, wherein the target device is corresponding to a target priority level; and a first source device and a second source device for respectively issuing a first packet and a second packet to the target device via the switch network, wherein the first packet is corresponding to a first priority level. The switch network comprises: a flow control unit, coupled to the first source device, for determining whether to output the first packet according to the first priority level and the target priority level, so as to control an output flow of the first packet; and a determining unit, coupled to the flow control unit and the second source device, for determining a sequence for the first and second packets to enter the target device according to a packet arbitration policy. The determining unit updates the target priority level after the first packet or the second packet enters the target device, so as to enable the flow control unit to dynamically adjust the output flow of the first packet.

"In another embodiment of the invention, a Quality of Service (QoS) management method used in a network system is provided. The network system comprises a first source device, a second source device, a target device corresponding to a target priority level, a flow control unit, a switch unit and a scheduling unit. The QoS management method comprises steps of: the first source device issuing a first packet to the flow control unit, and the second source device issuing a second packet to the switch unit, wherein the first packet is corresponding to a first priority level; the flow control unit performing a flow control procedure according to the target priority level and a high priority bandwidth quota of the first source device when the first priority level is a high priority level, so as to determine whether to output the first packet to the switch unit; the flow control unit directly outputting the first packet to the switch unit when the first priority level is a low priority level; the switch unit determining a sequence for the first and second packets to be forwarded to the scheduling unit; the scheduling unit determining a sequence for the first and second packets to enter the target device; and the scheduling unit updating the target priority level as a priority level of a packet when the packet enters the target device, and informing the flow control unit of the updated target priority level."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Lai, Chi Shao. Network System with Quality of Service Management and Associated Management Method. U.S. Patent Number 8817619, filed June 25, 2009, and published online on August 26, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8817619.PN.&OS=PN/8817619RS=PN/8817619

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Legal Issues, Realtek Semiconductor Corp., Semiconductor.

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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